« Poll numbers | Main | Pre-holiday Rock & Roll »


Jorge Camoes

As always, an image is an answer to a question. If you say "hot spot", someone else asks "where?" immediately. It is not about statistics, is about location. I don't like this particular map, but it answers to the question "where" (forget about the data). Is "where" a relevant question in this specific context?

The bar chart is answering another question: "how do the countries compare?" regarding the avian flu (forget about the location)? Is that a relevant question in this specific context?

Then you can ask "how much" ("how much risk"). None of these images state clearly how risky is to go to that area (area, not country, because it is a fluid thing, you can't confine the flu to the borders of a given country).

Different questions, different answers.

Robert Kosara

The problem with maps is that people think they understand them. There's stuff happening in the world/region/country, so you plot it on a map. Why the lines and additional points? Why didn't they just label the points directly, sparse as they are? I guess it just didn't look innovative enough.

Also, the map doesn't really serve a purpose. There are no patterns of migratory birds, no shipping routes, no additional information that would allow us to connect the dots (haha). And just one dot for a country the size of China doesn't exactly do the country justice, and doesn't help us see what is going on.

On thing I do understand is the reason for the higher bar for humans, though: Human cases are a bit more worrying than a few dead birds.

Chris G

What was the point of the Wired presentation? I agree with Robert - seems like filler material. Without proportionality (birds per human, cases per 100,000 population) it adds nothing - true Junk whether well displayed or not.


I agree the map presentation served very little purpose. The bar charts get to the immediate point. However, if you choose to go with different colors, as you did, for the continents, I think you should have a key.


As I did before when I had to do a graphic about bird flu, I'd also work with a map, but in a different way that Wired did. I don't like the Wired graphic and I think your graph is better, but I agree with Jorge that for the mass media the answer is "where".

Xris (Flatbush Gardener)

It would be interesting to see the individual cases mapped by their geographic location, rather than the aggregates by political boundary. That would better answer the question of "where?"

The comments to this entry are closed.


Link to Principal Analytics Prep

See our curriculum, instructors. Apply.
Kaiser Fung. Business analytics and data visualization expert. Author and Speaker.
Visit my website. Follow my Twitter. See my articles at Daily Beast, 538, HBR.

See my Youtube and Flickr.

Book Blog

Link to junkcharts

Graphics design by Amanda Lee

The Read

Keep in Touch

follow me on Twitter